In Poetry’s Dark Nights and other poems

In Poetry’s Dark Nights and other poems
Eleven Poems by Riyaz Latif, translated from Urdu by the poet

In Poetry’s Dark Nights

in poetry’s dark nights
from the whispers of two hands
from the misty frontier of lips
from the covert songs of faces
from the vanished empires of feet
from the spread arms of nuclei
an ocean has raged down —

The Exegesis of Lips the Shade of Non-Existence

in my voice
the expansiveness of ages
that courses to the stretches of invisible shores
to the unborn shadows of worlds…
passing beyond there
vortex within vortex,
alive in my waters,
tell me,
who shall rise
from the exegesis of my lips the shade of non-existence
when a history
comes to be written
of my mysterious voice?


listen, liquid air frothing
from green leaves
listen, mystique-forging drops
of murmuring rains
listen, doves of dew quivering solitary
on soft lips of grass
ask the depths of her eyes
ask the depths of her eyes
to return to me all my tears
for now,
I want to inscribe with flowing water
poems of thirst

To Become a Phantasm

in the slumbering deserts of my voice
how many dreamy lands do I bear as I roam
how many barren fruits of forgotten dusks
how much cryptic frenzy of falling leaves
how many walls with
vegetal ranks of livid, liquid shadows
What now
in the slumbering deserts of my voice
might be the rationale
for the dissolution of a dissolving world?
Melting all distances into myself
vein by vein
I leave outside
the unity of voids
and on the obscure symphony of whispers
arising from that distant shore
in the slumbering deserts of my voice
how many mirages of dreamy lands do I bear as I roam
the fate of whose sands it is to disappear;
for my limpid voices to become a phantasm!

Abstract Chant — 1

already interred, the sultanate of fugitive wings
blood, from land to land, branched
sky a stratum icy
in the body a perpetuity faded
what other, the constitution of dust?
hue by hue touch flared dowsed
vein in vein grass
the green the green of leaves
within the reach of bones
the fire of a million waters
night through night ephemeral
along with supernovas in fists
the geometry of tears
that flowed away grain by grain
then O, my love!
the reckoning of the cosmos
was ciphered!

Abstract Chant — 2

far afar soft
soft rage of snow’s inscriptions
all white in the soul
the world too, the soaring too
white, the smoke that I
shall extract from your being
white, the fruitless color
of vapor steam butterflies
again life
the undraped flowers
of your rib-cage are falling
drop by drop in
the bowl of intransience
white now, the unveiled dust of truths…
the inscriptions of snow
that coursed away
shadow by shadow,
thus, the reckoning of a frozen world
was ciphered!

The Ant

stretched shrunk
oblique askew
walking rushing my being
a string of fervent frenetic bodies –
moment to moment, like moments here
there’s arriving passing attaining vanishing;
there’s to cease an instant, and to be an instant –
striding roving, this is my musing:
lugging this atom-worth body,
what more entanglement with
this world a grain of sugar?
lugging this atom-worth body,
within the dominions of my own antennae,
who knows what all I’ve lost?
who knows what I seek
in speck within speck wilds;
in the ears of a frenzied elephant!
striding roving, I ruminate:
brewing up a straw-light tempest,
in the stormy eyes of a droplet
I will have to plunge
On the watery shores of a teardrop
I will have to perish!

Water My Mirror

Water my mirror
whose eyes a roiling vortex
in which sway being nonbeing
drop in drop a web of stars
liquid reflections of voids
Reflections, in flowing murmurs,
in a wet watery lilt
voice something to their own selves
In water’s mirror
all faces
of my lost faces
keep flowing…

From Eagles’ Eyes

from eagles’ eyes
infinitude’s silhouettes
as if were spiraling, falling,
far down in the liquescent
reverie-circles of the world…
within the silhouettes’ reach
may there be seas of nonappearance
may there be evanescent vistas
may there be station-less centers
In this abode of enchantment
from eagles’ eyes
may the sky flow forth
And in the unfathomed soaring
of fluid worlds
may your touch abound…


from the night’s eye
has dripped now
the frenzied passion
of my molten shadow!


in landscape’s bones, a strange wild passion
in mist’s cranium, blood of voids
in vestment’s ruins, body’s column
It’s a circle of sounds, and the core is but air
fleck oh fleck in colors, all encirclements of vision
from the canvas sprout relentless, dreams’ ineffable empires
O sepulcher of Time!
Solitude denuded!
Passion unleashed!

*Salvador Dali (1904-1989): the renowned Spanish artist associated with surrealism


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